Skies Over France Empty As Air Traffic Controllers Begin Three-Day Strike

One look at the airplane traffic map below should be enough to convey which socialist European country has a just started a 3-day air traffic controller strike.

Sure enough, as a result of the French ATC union demands for 'fairness', i.e., an elimination in the "unprecedented" cost-cutting plan, the eastern air border of France now looks like the 405 Freeway during rush hour. Watch the real time air traffic over Europe here.

From the NYT:

The crowds in the airport terminals serving the French capital were visibly thinner than usual for a weekday morning, airport officials said Tuesday, as air traffic controllers here began a three-day strike to protest European Union plans to accelerate the integration of the region’s fragmented air space.


As of 10 a.m., approximately 40 percent of flights had been canceled at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, north of Paris, said a spokeswoman for the airport operator, Aéroports de Paris.


“For the moment, the situation is calm, but there are likely to be more delays as the day progresses,” said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named in accordance with airport policy. “Most passengers appear to have been given sufficient warning in advance and have not come to the airport.”


A majority of intercontinental flights departing from Charles de Gaulle appeared to be operating, she said, with cancellations and delays mainly affecting short-haul flights within Europe. At Orly Airport, which lies to the south of Paris and serves mainly French and European destinations, roughly half of all flights have been canceled.


France’s largest regional airports, Lyon, Nice, Marseille Toulouse and Bordeaux, reported flight cancellation rates of 30 percent to 40 percent.


Other flights that normally pass over French airspace were also expected to face some delays because of rerouting.


The main air traffic controllers’ union in France announced plans to strike late last week to protest what it called the Union’s “unprecedented cost-cutting plan,” which it warned would sap need resources at a time when it says France should be investing to upgrade its air traffic management systems.


Controllers in about a half-dozen other European countries, including Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia, were expected to join in with more symbolic protests on Wednesday, union leaders said, though these actions were expected to last no more than 24 hours and were unlikely to cause serious disruptions.


The Union has sought for more than a decade to unify a patchwork of national air traffic control systems — part of a master plan known as the Single European Sky. The aim is to streamline a system that officials say adds about 5 billion euros, or $7.3 billion, in unnecessary costs each year and contributes to millions of tons of wasted fuel and added carbon emissions.

h/t @planefinder